25% Off Gift Certificates Right Now!

25% Off Gift Certificates Right Now!

Whale & Dolphin Watching

Fun for all ages!

Multiple cruise times daily, with flexible departure times and whales sighted year-round. Don’t miss the 2019 gray whale migration!

2-Hour Adventure Trips

$14 per student

Dana Wharf has been providing Southern California students year-round marine life learning experience since 1971.

Teacher Resources

Access a list of whale and dolphin information designed to supplement classroom curriculum.


Book Your Whale & Dolphin Watching Field Trip Today!

Field trips available Monday – Friday. Reservations required. Trips depart 10am, 12 noon and 2pm daily.
All vessels are US Coast Guard approved and meet school district insurance standards.
Call 949-496-5794 x 2 and ask for Tiffany

Gray Whale Watching Season School Group Special Nov-April

2-Hour Whale Watching Cruises For Only $14 Per Person!

It’s Gray Whale season at Dana Wharf! Since 1971, Dana Wharf has been offering the best in Dana Point Whale Watching. Dana Wharf is a family owned and operated business and the originator of whale watching in Orange County. Dana Wharf proudly takes over 25,000 children out whale watching every year! Join us for a two hour whale watching adventure during the Gray Whale season which runs from November through April. Known as a landmark for whale sightings, Dana Wharf’s tours offer rare glimpses into a huge variety of underwater wildlife that you’ll never forget! The giant Gray Whales may spy hop, breach, or fluke. Enjoy the playful dolphins and sea lions too!


Take advantage of our school field trip rate of $14 per person. This rate is for both students
and chaperones (a savings of $15 per person)! Group rate is for groups of 20 or more. Added bonus: Parties of 20 or more will receive a complimentary copy of our DVD, Sharing the Shores Off Dana Point.

ACSOur Whale Watching trips are lead by expert captains as well as trained and certified naturalists with the American Cetacean Society of Orange County. In cooperation with the American Cetacean Society (ACS) of Orange County, ACS naturalists will present a FREE pre-field trip presentation at your school. Their discussion and hands-on demonstrations about whales, dolphin and other marine mammals prepare the students for their ocean adventure! This pre-field trip is offered exclusively to groups of 100 or more. *Field trips that are booked with Gray Whale Foundation include an in class presentation for any size group.


Meet Our Educators


Don Hansen

Owner and Founder of Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Don Hansen’s love for the Gray Whale inspired thousands to come to Dana Point each year for the annual migration, the longest migration of any living mammal on earth! Today his children continue the tradition of offering Whale Watching from our large comfortable boats.


Captain Todd Mansur

Lead Naturalist and School Coordinator

In 1992 Captain Todd became Dana Wharf Whale Watching’s lead naturalist and conducts all of the pre-excursion in-classroom education for Orange County’s schools. This is also a major role for Todd as a Board Member of the Gray Whale Foundation.


Nona Reimer

Science Education Advisor and Cetacean Naturalist

Nona is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a degree in environmental studies. She taught 31 years for Capistrano Unified School District where she served as a Master Teacher and Science Mentor. She served for four years as the Orange County CREEC (CA Regional Environmental Eduction) Coordinator for the CA Dept of Education. Twice Teacher of the Year, Orange County Science Teacher of the Year, she was recognized as the 2015 Earth Month Hero by the Wyland Foundation. She recently completed the American Cetacean Society Naturalist training program. Nona says, “Seeing the look on a child’s face when they see a whale for the first time never gets old!”

Top 10 reasons to book your students’ Whale & Dolphin Watching Field Trip with Dana Wharf:

1. We are ORANGE COUNTY’S FIRST WHALE & DOLPHIN WATCHING COMPANY. Operating out of the Dana Point Harbor since 1971.

2. Our expert captains are all certified by the American Cetacean Society: http://acsonline.org/

3. We are endorsed by artist and marine conservationist WYLAND.

4. We spot marine wildlife year round, including Gray, Humpback, Blue and Fin Whales to name a few. We also see 5 different types of dolphin year round.

5. Common dolphin as well as sea lions are regularly spotted on our trips and the dolphins put on a fantastic show.

6. All of our boats are US Coast Guard approved and inspected.

7. Whale & Dolphin Watching tickets are just $14 each on trips Monday – Friday.

8. Marine Mammal Guarantee ~ In the unlikely event you don’t see anything, you may come back again for free another time. (Children will get free tickets for a return visit with a paid parent.)

9. Complimentary Parking (up to four hours).

10. FREE thumb drive or DVD of our award nominated short film “Sharing the Shores off Dana Point.” (1 free DVD per 20 or more.)


About Dana Wharf

Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching is dedicated to helping locals and visitors alike enjoy the unique wonders of Dana Point Harbor and the Orange County coastline. The warm waters right out of Dana Point Harbor are flourishing with sea life including whales, dolphins, harbor seals, and California sea lions. Our thriving coastal waters provide bountiful fishing of sand bass, calico bass, halibut, bonito, yellowtail, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, and dorado. Whether you’re looking for boat rentals in Dana Point to enjoy a private boat charter, sailboat or catamaran, coming for an awe-inspiring whale watching cruise or wanting to create memories onboard our sportfishing charters, one thing is for certain: your trip through the beautiful and scenic Orange County coast will be unforgettable. Dana Wharf is conveniently located in Dana Point, Orange County, just south of Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach – about 30 minutes south of Disneyland, an hour south of Los Angeles and an hour north of San Diego.

World Cetacean Alliance logoProud Partner of the World Cetacean Alliance
The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) is the world’s largest Partnership working to protect whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans). Partners of the WCA aim to conserve and protect cetaceans and their habitats in the world’s oceans, seas and rivers, to ensure their continued survival.